Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Hernias can be caused by lifting heavy objects.

Hernias can be caused by lifting heavy objects.
beginning of content


2 min read

What is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when tissues or organs bulge through a weak point in the wall of the abdomen (belly muscles).

Some hernias are there at birth. Some occur after surgery.

Other times, weaknesses develop in the muscles of the belly wall over time and eventually ‘give out’ causing a hernia.

Hernias are generally more common in people whose abdomens are under higher than usual pressure, such as people who do a lot of heavy lifting, are obese, are pregnant, have a chronic cough, or have chronic constipation.

Hernias may not cause any symptoms, but typical symptoms include:

  • a bulge in the groin or abdomen
  • pain, heaviness or discomfort, especially when coughing, straining or lifting
  • a pulling sensation around the bulge.

If your doctor thinks you may have a hernia, he or she will examine you. Your doctor may ask you to cough, strain or stand while pressing on the hernia.

If the hernia is small, or if it not causing any problems, then you and your doctor may decide to wait and see what happens.

But if the hernia is very large, or if it’s causing pain or getting trapped at times, then surgery will be recommended.

And if it’s trapped and can’t be pushed back, and you are in serious pain, you should see a doctor immediately as you could need emergency surgery.

Last reviewed: April 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 68 results

Hiatus hernia: diagnosis and treatment -

Hiatus hernia is often diagnosed when doctors investigate reflux with an endoscopy or barium X-ray. The hiatus hernia can show up as a bulge positioned between the oesophagus and your stomach.

Read more on myDr website

Hiatus hernia symptoms

Most hiatus hernias don't cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common are heartburn and regurgitation of stomach acid into the mouth.

Read more on myDr website

Hiatus hernia: self-help -

If you have heartburn or reflux arising from a hiatus hernia, there are a number of self-care measures, such as changes to your diet, that can help ease your symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair (TAPP) - Better Health Channel

An inguinal hernia is a common condition caused by a weakness in your abdominal wall, near the inguinal canal. If left untreated, an inguinal hernia can cause serious complications.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Umbilical hernia repair (child) - Better Health Channel

An umbilical hernia is a common condition. If your child is over three years old, surgery is recommended to prevent serious complications that can happen in adult life.

Read more on Better Health Channel website


A hernia is the protrusion of organs, such as intestines, through a weakened section of the abdominal wall.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Hernia | myVMC

Hernias such and inguinal or abdominal occur when an organ or structure passes through an abnormal opening and ends up in the wrong place.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Hernias - Better Health Channel

Both reducible and non-reducible hernias need to be surgically repaired - this is a common operation.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Hernia - Inguinal | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Hernia - Umbilical | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo